Latest Image From The Crew Of "Flyboys" On Location
by ANN Senior Correspondent Kevin R.C. 'Hognose' O'Brien
Michael Patlin of Airpower Aviation,
the coordinator of flying for the upcoming (2006) film "Flyboys"
that we have previously covered in these pages, sent a new
photograph to us (among other friends, fans, and aviation media).
If it weren't for an anachronistic bit of concrete pavement and
plywood in the foreground, you'd swear it was a young pilot
"beating up" the airdrome in 1917.
If the movie action is as good as the stills that
Mike's been teasing us with, we Great War fans are going to need
the premiere night off --and later, a half-inch on the DVD
"Somewhere in France..." was Mike's title for the picture, a
phrase which instantly recalls the First World War -- it was, of
course, how letters home were datelined, for reasons of operational
security. The Nieuport 17 is a Warner powered replica owned by
Britons Bob Gauld-Galliers and John Day, and flown by
Gauld-Galliers. Gauld-Galliers lives near Esher, Surrey, in the
"stockbroker belt" of bedroom communities; he built the plane with
Day, who lives in Sussex.
The close-up picture shows the airplane in its pre-movie
character as a member of the Great War Display Team, an English
airshow act, and it's finished in that picture as the mount
of Captain Philip Fletcher Fullard, RFC. Fullard shot down 42
enemy aircraft, 17 of them in "this" Nieuport, B3459. (The airplane
has been refinished as a Lafayette Escadrille plane for the movie,
Notice the authentic-looking canvas Besseneau hangars, which
were an essential ingredient in Allied air bases of the Great War.
The hangars could be knocked down, taken to a new station and
erected there, as the demands of military operations, or the
movement of the front, required.
I asked Mike where they got the Besseneau hangars, after 90
years? "They (the production company) built them! Movie
In the past, we've credited Mike Patlin, but we'd be remiss if
we didn't mention that others working on the "airplane side" of the
movie include Sarah Hanna in the UK (UK aerial coordinator, she
sourced the British-based planes), Ken Kellett of Kermit Weeks's
Fantasy of Flight attraction in Polk City, FL (who came through
with another Warner-powered Nieuport of Kermit's and a Sopwith 1
1/2 Strutter), and Andrew King, a Virginia-based pilot and airplane
restorer, all of whom were key contributors to brining the skies of
ninety years ago back to life.
You'll be able to see Nieuports and other World War One aircraft
really fly -- Director Tony Bill, an experienced pilot himself,
insisted on real airplanes, not CGI graphics or models -- when
Flyboys comes to the big screen in 2006.
Until then, all's quiet on the Western Front. But we'll keep you